First, an advert for healthy eating brought to you by Earthmother productions. Worried about your health? Eat organic and for colour! Nature has kindly colour-coordinated its plant nutrients so you can mix-and-match. Step forward orange carotenoids for vitamin A production and purple and deeply-green antioxidants for cell-restoration.
If the veg is organic you get more antioxidants for your money. Here’s why: if you spray a plant with pesticides (which is how most western food is grown), then its ability to produce antioxidants is decreased. Antioxidants are the fighting army that protect a plant from pests and there are more in organic food because the organic plant gets to keep its antioxidant army. Fade on ad.
And the UK government wants to re-open the GM debate! Crikey, as if we don’t have enough to contend with just trying to grow a few unsprayed organic veg.
GM crops are modified in a lab to tolerate a herbicide (weed killer) or produce an insecticide (insect killer). Farmers have to buy the GM seed and the proprietary pesticide (umbrella term for herbicide, insecticide and fungicide).
If GM seeds or pollen arrive accidentally on a field, GM companies can sue farmers for patent-infringement. California voted to protect farmers against such lawsuits in August. It’s more fair if the polluter-company pays for GM contamination, as the Welsh Assembly government proposes – and not the hapless farmer.
The pro-GM marketing spin says GM can feed the world – how selfish of me to stop a technology that saves the hungry! But it’s a lie. There are no GM crops designed to help the poor. The current GM crops are engineered for insect and weed-spraying – not to improve yields, vitamin A, drought-prevention or any of the other mythical scenarios dreamed up by well-meaning but misguided press officers.
The (so-called) environment minister, Phil Woolas, said people like me have a year to prove GM is unsafe.
A body of evidence is growing; the ill-health effects on animals is well-documented. But the fact is the science has not been done. Commercial planting of GM especially in the US has pushed ahead regardless. Listen, there has only been one trial published worldwide on humans eating GM food. And that showed worrying results.
I think we need more science on the health effects of GM.
And, Woolas – it’s not up to me to provide it.
On a gentler note: the ingredients for supper came from Better Food organic supermarket, which also grew the organic veg 12 miles away. The chard was steamed, the carrots grated and the beetroot, cut very small, was – new discovery – pan-fried in olive oil for 20 minutes with sliced onion. Served on a bed of brown rice; 1 mug of rice to 2 mugs of water, simmered for 30 minutes – enough for two, and a rice salad the next day.